Each year, the Gig Harbor Basket Brigade brings the community together to help provide Thanksgiving meals to local families in need, and area military families at JBLM and Bremerton Naval Base.

The Gig Harbor Basket Brigade is a project of the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation, a charitable 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization serving communities of the greater Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas.

Staff: Elisha Rhodes (Lending)

The goal is to provide Thanksgiving Dinner to 1500 + families in the local areas. The process is seamless with over 400 volunteers and many jobs to do. I was able to participate in the three main facets of the volunteer efforts and found it so rewarding!

Step 1: Grab a box.
Each box is numbered and decorated for the family in mind. All boxes are kept in order and there is even an extra step to ensure the families with babies and pets get something a little extra, this way nobody is left out. Upon being given the box there is an assembly line where a specific number of items are given to each family. Most of the foods were true to the Thanksgiving theme, and I was really impressed that items in the box would feed a family of 4 for about a week, not just one meal.

Step 2: Move that box.
Complete and filled to the brim with goodies, move your box to the staging area. The boxes are placed in number order for two reasons. First, they want to ensure the maps for drivers are lined up to the specific boxes. Second, each family this year got something personal to keep them warm. You can see from the pictures that blankets, hats and scarves are placed on top of each box. And finally they are shipped with a very large turkey and roasting pan for the complete Thanksgiving experience.

Step 3: Delivery.
I was able to help with 7 deliveries and they are were all super amazing. The strategy is to door-bell ditch, and for good reason, it’s hard for some to accept help. To avoid hurting anyone’s pride the whole process is kept pretty anonymous. My first delivery was the most memorable. Three vehicles delivered, caravan style, to an apartment complex. The manager of the complex looks for way to support the whole community throughout the year, as she knows the demographic is all low income refugees. These residents escaped a life of persecution in hopes of finding peace and safety for their families. The gifts were delivered to their community center and each family was able to join in the celebration together with the other residents. What a beautiful show of support for each other and the upcoming holiday of thanks.